A Libya deportee, Chuks Odiase, on Tuesday gave lurid details of his life experience in Libya as he attempted crossing the mediterranean sea to the European countries.
Odiase, a former youth leader from Ika north east local government area of Delta state who was heavily empowered by the state government through the state skills acquisition programme, abandoned the programme and travelled through the high seas in search of what he thinks was not in Nigeria.
The empowerment programme which the state commissioner for economic planning, Kingsley Emu, said gulped over N2.5million as it covered everything to make him take care of his life, Odiase was said to have sold all the equipment and took off to the land of the unknown.
Emu, who called him his youth leader, told journalists that Odiase squandered all the money and ran to Libya. “I just brought him out to the public when he came to greet me. The state spent in excess of n2.5million on him. He has been part of YAGEP and other programmes of the state government,” said Emu, who expressed unhappiness over the development.
He said many of the deportees spent in excess of N1.2million on the failed journey to the unknown destination.
He said the state government was putting machineries in place to include them into the empowerment programme through the job creation office but said they must indicate interest in the skills and the type of skills they would want to be involved in, adding that the government was willing to engage them in any productive venture of their choice.
Odiase, while giving his experience in Libya, said he left Nigeria for Libya in anticipation of a better living, adding: “Along the line things didn’t go the way I planned them. But I thank God that I returned alive. A lot of things happened, many died in the sea, many died in the desert. The Arab people used guns to kill manyof ourpeople. They took us as animals, many are still in prison there.”
He said the Libyans do not allow the Nigerian ambassador there to see them, saying when the Nigerian Ambassador comes, the Arab man will corner them away as they are not ready to empty their prisons.
He said: “That we are alive today, we thank the federal government of Nigeria and the Delta state government for bringing us back today. We are praying that God should assist the government to bring those people remaining back because they are suffering.”
Odiase, who shied away from commenting on how he sold the empowerment packages giving to him by the state government, said Nigeria is a good country.
He said: “I traveled to Libya last year. I have learnt a lot of lessons. Nigeria is a great country where you have freedom. In Libya, there is no freedom. I’m advising all the youths, anything about Libya, everybody should hands off. Libya is not a country. We just wanted to cross, along the line they said we are illegal immigrants. I paid over N700k in the journey.”
Genevieve Mordi, senior special assistant to Delta state governor on international relations, told journalists that the journey to their return started over a year ago.
She said the federal government sent a high powered delegation led by the minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyema to Libya and the team returned on Saturday January 6, 2018. Thereafter she was contacted by the director general of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
According to her, the federal government would be returning from Libya 5000 persons, the process of which will be in batches that will span within the next three weeks, adding: :This is just the beginning.”